Ethos, Pathos & Logos

Many of the founding generations of any organisation can find themselves locked into ethos based thinking where the integrity of the original model is paramount and above any other consideration. Any organisation that has become ethos based and has no clear vision for either the Pathos or Logos elements of a vision will find themselves unable to articulate their vision. They have previously appealed to a sense of ethics, the reason they started up, and for those whom the way it was becomes their authority position, it has become everything for their attention and efforts. When their ethos is attacked, as we challenge their beliefs, they lose all reason, they have no argument, they revert to passionate and venomous vitriol.

Pathos is about connection, buy-in, believing the ethos rhetoric to be strong on facts (but it isn’t). The bible of our past iteration, the reason they all exist and that which brings meaning to what is otherwise an empty work existence. It’s the party line and it cannot be broken or they will have nothing left and no ethos on which to fight for solidarity and tribal relationships. The ethos mind is a campfire mind. They sit around the campfire, they watch the flames, they feel its warmth and they fear moving away, less it becomes unattended and goes out. The flames have mesmerised and paralysed them into a huddled mass. The ingredient missing from the leaders of this group is wisdom. So their only course is to revert to sympathy (pathos)…without you guys, we don’t stand a chance, so and so is too powerful…get behind the ethos and help us protect it…pathos has just teamed up with ethos…this isn’t a good place to be.

Logos, on the other hand, is logical, consistent, strategic and factual. It is based on reasoning, seeing the path to a bigger picture and focusing on the destination. It is the enemy of an ethos-pathos based group. Logos is the dry, emotionless face of big brother. The dominant thinking of the ruler, the heartless beast that will trample ethos and pathos to death.

But if it is handled wisely, carefully, compassionately and kindly, Logos is a powerful and phenomenal invitation to set aside fear and see that the world needs ethos and pathos alongside Logos, it needs to present a belief in all three to reach a new nirvana, a new destination, a fertile land from which we can all feed and nurture each other. Logos will point out the folly of ethos-pathos based thinking, it will attack their lack of reasoning and it will expose their weak underbelly. But when they team up…your message is loud and clear…everyone whom you want to follow you loves you…they get you, they want to be part of the story. Look at Apple…

Photo by Stephen Hocking on Unsplash